While My Guitar Gently Weeps Chords And Best Video Lessons

The Beatles’ While My Guitar Gently Weeps is an all-time favorite among guitarists and rock-music lovers alike. 

It has an interesting story behind it. George Harrison initially conceived it as a mellow, slow-tempo acoustic tune (1), accompanied by Paul McCartney playing the harmonium. 

But after several twists and turns, it became the full-band epic we all know and love. It features Eric Clapton playing the guitar solo and lead sections. 

In this article, I break down the acoustic guitar chords for playing this awesome tune. You’ll also find a chord and lyrics diagram.

To wrap up, I review my favorite video lessons available on YouTube for learning to play the rhythm section, each with slightly different chords. 

• • •

While My Guitar Gently Weeps Chords — Intro And First Verse Section

These are the simplest chords to play in the intro and the song’s first verse. They require using the pinky and thumb to play the song’s iconic descending bass line on the low E string. 

If you’re a beginner, you might find using these particular two fingers a bit difficult. Some of the video lessons below use different chord fingerings if you struggle with that.

But those alternative ways of fingering the chords might as well be more difficult for absolute beginners. In my opinion, newbie guitarists should stick to it and use this version of the tune as an excuse to get those thumbs and pinkies in shape.

A minor diagram
A minor over G diagram
A minor over F sharp diagram
F major 7 diagram
A minor diagram
G diagram
D diagram
E diagram

• • •

While My Guitar Gently Weeps Chords — Second Verse

The chords for the second verse are the same as in the first verse but playing a C chord instead of a D chord.

C diagram

• • •

While My Guitar Gently Weeps — Chorus

The chorus has two barre chords: C#m, F#m, and Bm. But in the video lesson by Marty Music reviewed below, there’s an alternative version that also plays an A barre chord instead of the open A chord shown here.

A diagram
C sharp minor diagram
F sharp minor diagram
C sharp minor diagram
B minor diagram
E diagram

• • •

While My Guitar Gently Weeps — Chords And Lyrics

Here are the lyrics along the chords for the entire song. In my opinion, this is an excellent tune to play and sing in a campfire setting, as folks of all ages and backgrounds are familiar with it.

A                  C#m  F#m   C#m       Bm                           E
I don’t know why nobody told you how to unfold your love?
A                 C#m   F#m             C#m
I don’t know how someone controlled you
Bm                              E  E7sus
They bought and sold you

 Am           Am/G            Am/F#      F
I look at the world, and I notice it’s turning
Am          G                  D     E
While my guitar gently weeps
      Am       Am/G                  Am/F#     F
With every mistake, we must surely be learning
Am          G               C    E
Still, my guitar gently weeps

A                 C#m  F#m         C#m
I don’t know how you were diverted,
Bm                           E
You were perverted too?
A                  C#m  F#m        C#m
I don’t know how, you were inverted,
Bm                   E
No one alerted you

  Am             Am/G        Am/F#                F
I look at you all and see the love there that’s sleeping
Am          G                  D      E
While my guitar gently weeps
Am          Am/G  Am/F#  F
Look at you all…
Am          G          C     E
Still, my guitar gently weeps

• • •

While My Guitar Gently Weeps — Video Lesson Roundup

Man sitting on his desk with a guitar and a computer.

While chord diagrams are a quick way of learning the song’s chords as such, video lessons will provide you with a richer learning experience. 

You can see and hear an experienced instructor playing and explaining each chord, the strumming patterns, and valuable tips and tricks to really make the song alive through your axe. 

There are many video lessons out there, though, and more versions of how to play this piece than other less popular tunes.

So I thought it’d be a good idea to curate a list of my favorite video lessons to save you some time and effort. Better invest those scarce resources in learning to play this Beatles’ masterpiece.

The Beatles While My Guitar Gently Weeps Rhythm Lesson – Swift Lessons

This lesson teaches the chords for the song’s intro, two verses, and chorus exactly as depicted earlier in this article. 

Rob Swift’s explanation of how to play each chord is crystal clear. I also like that he uses a strumming pattern that, despite being super simple and suitable for beginners, is a perfect fit for Gently Weeps.

Rob’s singing is as good as his guitar chops, so the lesson is also excellent inspiration for those of us who want to follow George Harrison’s example and tackle the song’s lyrics and strumming at the same time.

If you want to go a step further and learn the electric lead sections played by the mighty Slowhand, Rob also has lessons to help you out on that — but make sure to learn the rhythm parts first!

How To Play The Beatles’ While My Guitar Gently Weeps – Marty Music

This lesson uses slightly different chord versions ins some cases. You can find the diagrams of these alternative chord fingerings below the video.

Marty uses a more percussive strumming pattern that is a bit more challenging than the one Rob Swift uses, but it makes everything sound more similar to the full-band version.

He also does a “little passing tone” from the C#m to the Bm chord in the chorus section, which means he plays a Cm chord between those two.

Last but not least, Marty plays the bass line of the full-band version on the low E string when he transitions from E to Am.

As you can see, in the intro and verse sections, Marty plays a D7/F# chord instead of an Am/F#. 

The diagram below shows that the fourth string is open instead of pressing it on the second fret with the second finger.  And instead of playing the F# on the low E string with the thumb, it’s played with the second finger. 

The third and first fingers stay in the same place, but the first and fifth strings are muted.

D 7 over F sharp diagram

The fingering of the Fmaj7 is different too:

F major 7 diagram

Also, Marty replaces the open A chord with its barre equivalent:

A major barre diagram

So here are what the chords in the intro and verse sections look like according to Marty’s version:

A minor diagram
A minor over G diagram
D 7 over F sharp diagram
F major 7 diagram
A minor diagram
G diagram
D diagram
E diagram

The chords for the second verse are the same, substituting the D with a C.

And here’s what the chorus looks like:

A barre diagram
C sharp minor diagram
F sharp minor diagram
C sharp minor diagram
B minor diagram
E diagram

While My Guitar Gently Weeps Lesson by The Beatles – George Harrison – Justin Guitar

Just like Marty, Justin uses the D7/F# instead of the F#/A chord. For the rest of the tune, he uses the same fingerings as Rob Swift. The only slight variation is that he plays an F chord instead of Fmaj7.

His strumming pattern is similar to Marty’s in its percussiveness, yet it’s different enough, giving the song a subtly different feel.

So here are the intro and verse chords according to Justin:

A minor diagram
A minor over G diagram
D 7 over F sharp diagram
F diagram
A minor diagram
G diagram
D diagram
E diagram

The chords for the second verse are the same, substituting the D with a C.

Justin introduces two additional chords in the chorus section right after playing E. They create an exciting transition effect:

A diagram
C sharp minor diagram
F sharp minor diagram
C sharp diagram
B minor diagram
E diagram
D over F sharp diagram
G sharp minor flat 6 diagram

To top it all off, Justin spends almost all the second half of the lesson explaining a very cool chord-melody version of the song. Newbies will probably struggle with it, but it’s worth giving it a try if you are an early intermediate player.

How to play While My Guitar Gently Weeps by The Beatles – Guitar At Work

For the intro and verse sections, Shane uses an Am7/G Instead of an Am/G.

And just like Marty Schwarz, he uses a D7/F# but calls it Am6. Both chords are almost identical, except that in the Am6, the first string is open instead of muted.

So here’s what the intro and verse chords look like in this lesson:

A minor diagram
A minor 7 over G diagram
A minor 6 diagram
F major 7 diagram
A minor diagram
G diagram
D diagram
E diagram

Shane’s explanation of the importance of isolating the bass line in the intro and verse chord progression is golden. I think it’s the most critical element to make your guitar sound like the whole band when playing this tune.

In the chorus section, Shane uses an Amaj7 right after the very first A in the progression instead of a C#m:

A diagram
A major7 diagram
F sharp minor diagram
C sharp minor diagram
B diagram
E diagram

• • •

The Importance Of Motivation

I always like to nurture my motivation for learning a new song by listening to both the original version and the most iconic covers.

You can find pretty good material related to While My Guitar Gently Weeps on YouTube. Below are a few of my favorite finds.

This acoustic cover by Corey Heuvel is my absolute favorite. The chord-melody intro is just perfect. 

And then the combination of simple strumming with spicy licks throughout the song really makes him sound like a whole band. And his singing is top-notch!

Chris Monagan does an excellent job on this cover. His playing is not as sophisticated as Corey Heuvel’s but still does a beautiful job of conveying the full richness of the song. 

A perfect example of how basic strumming and singing, when well executed, are all you need.

If you’re into fingerstyle, don’t miss this sublime cover by Gabriella Quevedo.

If you’re reading this article, you’re probably a beginner or early intermediate player, like me. And all you want to achieve is to learn the While My Guitar Gently Weeps‘ chords. 

That’s certainly my case. Still, I like watching epic, whole-band covers like this legendary performance by Prince, Tom Petty, Steve Winwood, Jeff Lynne, and others during the 2004 Hall Of Fame Inductions. 

Seeing how a song you’re trying to learn shines on virtuosic hands is always inspiring. And imagine that someday you’ll be able to make the music sound just like that.

• • •

Final Thoughts

Learning the chords of While My Guitar Gently Weeps is a great accomplishment. 

But the way I see it, this song offers tons of material to keep studying once you have mastered the rhythm section. 

You can learn two of Clapton’s most epic solos and then use the chord progression as a base to start improvising your own solos.

And, of course, it’s always mandatory to study one of The Beatles’ most iconic classics from a compositional point of view.

But first, stick to fully mastering the chords. As the ancient Chinese book of the I Ching, which played a role in Harrison’s inspiration (2), says: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

And if you enjoyed this article, make sure to check these ones out as well:

• • •

References

  1. Dan Einav, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps — George Harrison’s song began life as a folksy ballad,” as published here: https://ig.ft.com/life-of-a-song/while-my-guitar-gently-weeps.html
  2. Hannah Weigandt, “George Harrison Used Chinese Philosophy to Write ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’,” as published here: https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/george-harrison-used-chinese-philosophy-write-while-my-guitar-gently-weeps.html/

Image credits

George Harrison and Eric Clapton performing at the Prince’s Trust Concert: Steve Mathieson, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

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